Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Hunting with a Handgun

Someone asked me recently, "what is the difference between a pistol and a handgun?" Technically they are both handguns. However the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau defines a pistol as "any handgun that does not contain its ammunition in a revolving cylinder." So, by definition, there are pistols and revolvers.

When it comes to hunting with handguns, I know there are those who will hunt with a pistol. Those choosing to use a semi-auto tend to use the 10mm since it is one of the biggest cartridge available for this action. Other than the Desert Eagle .50 Cal. Others will use single shots or bolt action pistols usually chambered in larger calibers. Some of the single action and bolt action pistols actually come in what are typically rifle cartridges including, .243 Win., .308 Win., and even .30-06 Springfield in some configurations.

But the very largest cartridges are reserved for wheel guns. The big .41 Rem. Mag., .44 Rem Mag, .454 Casull, .460 S&W Mag., and the .500 S&W are behemoth hand cannons that are a beast to shoot. .45-70 Magnum research (also available in a single shot) Colt .45-70 Peacemaker. Then there are the Freedom Arms available in .475 Limbaugh and the .500 Wyoming Express. Truly giant handguns. And at almost $2500 each a true investment.

Personally I really enjoy shooting big handguns. Some practice has taught the proper technique so as not to get hurt physically when shooting them. Having said this, I have never shot a .50 caliber handgun, so I may have to eat those words one day.

The rifle cartridge handguns pack a wallop on both ends, and the blast is extensive which is why they need long barrels and a good rest. None of these rifle cartridge handguns are intended to shoot freehand. A small bipod is a good idea for many of them.

And while I have shot a fair number of the single shot guns, my preference is towards the wheeled guns. The smooth cocking, easy trigger in single action mode and the ease of carry make them my preferred choice. Having said this, I just encountered a new Taurus Raging bull model 444 chambered in .44 Rem. Mag. (my personal favorite caliber for handguns). While it does not come drilled and tapped for a scope mount, that is an easy fix with my local gunsmith. The 8 3/8" barrel and built in muzzle brake make it a pure joy to shoot. I cannot wait to get it into the field for some hogs this winter and see the damage it will do on some swine.

I compare handgun hunting to bow hunting, only it is a lot louder. Handgun hunting requires you to get a lot closer than with a rifle, it requires you to focus on shot execution and recovery. Similar to bow hunting. When choosing a stand location for handgun hunting you have to consider different elements than rifle. Similar to bow stands.

One thing I can see as I get older, I enjoy more of a challenge to hunting. To increase the challenge, I took up the handgun several years ago and have really enjoyed the pursuit and limitations of the handgun. It is the perfect still hunting weapon. Easily portable, light weight and capable of killing big animals.

if you are looking for a greater challenge in the field, consider dropping the shotgun or rifle and picking up a pistol or revolver and see the joy of shooting a smaller gun with big rewards.


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